Hand Tremors - Causes, Types and Exercises

What are hand tremors?

Tremors are unintentional rhythmic movements of any part of the body that are common, but can signal underlying medical conditions, based on the intensity and frequency of the trembling. Most people have slight tremors, known as physiological tremors.

What Causes Hand Tremors

Tremors can be normal or a result of neurological conditions, other health problems, or medication use. Some of the common causes are listed below:

Enhanced Physiological Tremor

This is the most common and noticeable type of tremor. It usually affects the hands. This can be caused by:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of sleep

This type of tremor usually does not need medical intervention.

Types of Hand Tremors

Disruption in neurological functioning also results in hand tremors. This can be due to multiple reasons such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

This particular disease is degenerative in nature and affects the central nervous system, causing a delay in relay of messages by nerves. This can result in hand tremors.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury:

Injuries to the brain can cause disruption in neurological functioning that can impact the way motor responses operate in the body. Injuries specific to certain regions of the brain can cause tremors

Parkinson's Disease Tremor

Parkinson’s results in loss of nerve cells in parts of the brain that are vital for motor responses. This lack of nerve cells results in varied intensity of tremors, at different emotional periods.


After a stroke, a person might develop serious hand tremors, based on the area of the brain that is affected. 

Essential tremors

Essential tremors are often confused with Parkinson’s tremor. There area  few fundamental differences between the two, which are mentioned below

Timing of Tremor

While essential tremor occurs when you are using your hands, Parkinson’s tremors will occur when your hands are rested by your side

Associated conditions

Essential tremor doesn't cause major health problems, while Parkinson’s results in slow movement, stooped postures and unusual gait.

Hand and wrist exercises

Here are some easy to do hand and wrist exercises that can help you reduce hand tremors

Squeezing a stress ball for two to 15 seconds and repeating this around 15 times  on each hand in a day.

Rotating the wrist in slow, circular motions a few times at regular intervals during the day will help synovial fluid from building up, which will reduce tremors.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation, gentle yoga, engaging in mindful activities can help reduce stress, which can have a positive impact on reducing tremors

Medication for tremors, prescribed by doctors after diagnosis can also reduce the intensity of hand tremors

Hand Exercises For Parkinson's Disease

The following activities are some common hand  exercises for Parkinson’s.

Squeezing a soft ball by keeping it in the middle of your palm and grasping it tightly for ten seconds, and repeating the same at regular intervals.

Clenching and unclenching your fist several times, at regular intervals during the day

Tapping your index finger with the upper thumb finger at regular intervals during the day

Bend your fingers down and try to touch the bottom of your palm

Physiotherapy For Hand Tremor

Physiotherapy can be helpful in reducing the intensity of the tremors. With proper care and an exercise regime by trained physiotherapists, it can provide relief. Some of them are:

Shoulder Shrugs

This will help increase the frequency of activity between the brain and the arms. The activity boosts synaptic chain interaction, increasing muscle movement, that can help reduce the tremors

Bicep curls

Bicep curls, with the right guidance by the physiotherapist, can help build muscle in the arm, that can help increase stability of hand movements, resulting in reduction of tremors.


Hydrotherapy can also be a useful method to deal with tremors, and for people with less mobility. The buoyancy of the water can help with the gentle movements that can improve over time.